Becoming Nicole

by

Amy Ellis Nutt

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Nicole and Jonas’s mother, and Wayne’s wife. Kelly grows up in a somewhat unconventional family, as she is raised by the sister of her biological mother. She also finds herself unable to have children of her own, so she and Wayne adopt Nicole (then Wyatt) and Jonas from her 16-year-old cousin Sarah. Because of this, Kelly has fewer expectations of what a family should look like than her husband Wayne does. So, when Wyatt begins to express his female identity even before two years old, Kelly is more open to Wyatt’s wishes—she buys him more feminine clothing, and dolls rather than action figures. Eventually recognizing that Wyatt’s behavior isn’t a phase, but not understanding exactly what is going on in her son’s mind, Kelly tries to learn as much as she can about the potential things that Wyatt might be experiencing. As she digs through information on homosexuality, transsexualism, and being transgender, she gaining knowledge makes her better equipped to help Wyatt. She starts to refer to Wyatt as her daughter, advocates for him to be on the girls’ softball team, and finds a specialist who will allow Wyatt to continue his transition to Nicole. When Nicole faces discrimination at school and the school does nothing to improve the situation, Kelly decides that it would be better for the family to move rather than for her daughter to suffer. Thus, Kelly shows how families are defined by the love and support they have for one another, not by arbitrary social expectations.

Kelly Maines Quotes in Becoming Nicole

The Becoming Nicole quotes below are all either spoken by Kelly Maines or refer to Kelly Maines. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender Identity, Expression, and Transformation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Becoming Nicole published in 2015.
Chapter 1 Quotes

By the time Wayne reached home and embraced Kelly, he was smiling, thinking not about the added expenses but about the double joy: two baseball gloves, two basketballs, two rifles for his two baby boys!

Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Kelly was learning to do things pretty much on her own for both boys, but especially Wyatt. He clamored to wear the same colorful clothes as Leah, and rather than wear the flannel shirt his mother bought him to match Jonas’s, he would go bare chested. Kelly felt it was cruel to keep dressing Wyatt in clothes he hated, so she made the decision, without Wayne’s input, to shop every now and then for something less masculine for Wyatt to wear.

Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

One evening, when the twins were about three years old and had been tucked in for the night, Kelly sat down at the computer in the living room and typed five words into the search engine:

“Boys who like girls’ toys.”

It was both a question and a statement of fact. For Kelly, it was also a beginning. She scrolled through science articles, online forums, and medical sites. She read about homosexuality, transsexualism—wasn’t that what drag queens were?—and something called transgender. She read for hours.

Related Characters: Nicole/Wyatt Maines, Kelly Maines
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

“Are you going to let him wear that?” Wayne asked.

Kelly didn’t answer. Instead, she raced up to Wyatt, hot tears now streaking his face, took him by the hand, and led him back into his bedroom. It was, she knew right then and there, the worst moment of her life. It wasn’t so much the reaction of the people at the party, who were mostly stunned into silence—that was Wayne’s issue—but rather the hurt her son was experiencing, and for no good reason other than that he wanted to wear his princess dress to the family’s party.

Related Characters: Wayne Maines (speaker), Nicole/Wyatt Maines, Kelly Maines, Jonas Maines
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

Wayne was also trying to make sense of Wyatt, in his own way, but mostly he was hoping these were all things his son would simply outgrow. He didn’t want to think about his son being gay. It was fine if the sons of other fathers were gay, because he had no problem working with gay people or his children having gay friends. He just didn’t want that for his son. It would be too hard his whole life, and Wayne was afraid he wouldn’t know how to be the kind of father Wyatt would want—or need.

Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

You think you are the only person in the world that has this. In fact, we now know that there are tens and tens of thousands of people in this country alone who have this. One scholar says that it’s as common as multiple sclerosis, it’s as common as a cleft palate. It’s something that many people in the country and across the world have, but these people are living in silence and shame because they are afraid to speak the truth.

Related Characters: Jennifer Finney Boylan (speaker), Nicole/Wyatt Maines, Kelly Maines
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

Wyatt was flooded with relief, knowing there was someone out there just like him. Wayne couldn’t believe it. Wyatt, he realized, had all the same anger issues, and he and Kelly all the same anxieties, but Jazz’s parents were openly discussing them on national TV. Wayne fought back tears for the rest of the hour.

Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

For Wayne, this was the first time he’d shown any kind of public support for Wyatt being transgender. His instincts as a father had been tested without his even realizing it, and he’d responded to the challenge. The petition was granted, and in a matter of days Wyatt Benjamin Maines would officially and legally become Nicole Amber Maines.

Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

Kelly and the kids would move to Portland, and Wayne would commute on weekends and holidays to be with them. They’d always thought they were on an upward trajectory in their lives, with success and promotions at work fueling an increasingly better lifestyle, but Jacob and his grandfather Paul Melanson had bizarrely changed all that. Suddenly, Wayne and Kelly were downsizing and their lives were in reverse.

Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 31 Quotes

It was impossible for the Maineses not to feel the importance of their case among these hardworking people, and they realized that their lawsuit wasn’t just about Nicole or their family. It wasn’t even just their story anymore. The lawsuit, even though it was just a state case, had meaning and significance for many others. And now Wayne, Kelly, Nicole, and Jonas would carry the hopes of those others with them as they sought affirmation from the courts.

Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Becoming Nicole LitChart as a printable PDF.
Becoming Nicole PDF

Kelly Maines Character Timeline in Becoming Nicole

The timeline below shows where the character Kelly Maines appears in Becoming Nicole. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue: Mirror Image
Gender Identity, Expression, and Transformation Theme Icon
...videos of Wyatt and his identical twin brother, Jonas, who were adopted at birth by Kelly and Wayne Maines. Initially, they are nearly impossible to tell apart, but Kelly and Wayne... (full context)
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Kelly also notices that Wyatt is moodier than Jonas and sometimes lashes out at his brother.... (full context)
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Wayne and Kelly had adopted the boys just after they were born, having been unable to have children... (full context)
Chapter 1: Identical Twins
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By the time that Wayne and Kelly adopt their newborn sons, the couple has been married five years. Kelly had suffered multiple... (full context)
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Kelly had grown up in the Midwest and but had come from a nontraditional family. Kelly’s... (full context)
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Kelly left home at 17, graduating from high school early. She took art courses at a... (full context)
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...master’s degree and doctorate in safety management. He remained in West Virginia, and then met Kelly. Less than three years later they married in Indiana before moving to rural New York... (full context)
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Kelly hadn’t seen her cousin Sarah since she was a baby, but she and Wayne decided... (full context)
Chapter 2: My Boys
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...Sarah has a slightly difficult delivery and loses quite a bit of blood, but she, Kelly, and Wayne are able to take the babies home three days later. Wayne holds his... (full context)
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Wayne thinks about the fact that right now they are Kelly’s boys, but soon he will have his own special connection with them. He thinks about... (full context)
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A week after the babies are born, Kelly drives Sarah to Albany the night before her flight home. She takes Sarah out to... (full context)
Chapter 3: Finally Ours
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Wayne and Kelly, Wyatt, and Jonas live in a farmhouse in Northville, New York, and Kelly and Wayne... (full context)
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On May 17, 1998, Wayne and Kelly go to court to make the adoptions official. A judge verifies that Wyatt and Jonas... (full context)
Chapter 4: Gender Dysphoria
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To Kelly, Wyatt isn’t strange or sick; he’s just different. Wayne starts to distance himself from the... (full context)
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Wayne doesn’t approve of Kelly’s actions, which he feels are indulgent, but doesn’t stop her. All he wants to do... (full context)
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One evening, Kelly sits down and starts to look up info about “boys who like girls’ toys.” She... (full context)
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Kelly continues to read, learning that gender is one’s belief that one is male or female.... (full context)
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Kelly recognizes a lot of these traits in Wyatt, who refers to himself as a “boy-girl”... (full context)
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In 2003, after Jonas and Wyatt complete kindergarten, Wayne and Kelly decide to move to Orono, Maine, after Wayne gets a job at the University of... (full context)
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Kelly lets Wyatt grow his hair out and wear feminine shirts. Wayne, meanwhile, feels uncomfortable whenever... (full context)
Chapter 5: Down East
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...for Jonas and Wyatt. The kids seem to adjust well to the move, and though Kelly feels a little isolated, she is happy that they are close to school and Wayne’s... (full context)
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...pink princess dress during the party, Wayne yells at him that he can’t wear that. Kelly hears this and immediately comforts her crying son, pulling him away from the party. She... (full context)
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Kelly is frustrated by Wayne’s behavior and the fact that he refuses to talk about his... (full context)
Chapter 6: Things to Be Careful Of
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Kelly worries about the kids’ safety, particularly Wyatt’s, and so she enrolls the kids in tae... (full context)
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Kelly makes efforts to protect Wyatt in school and at friends’ homes. She explains to his... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Pink Aisle
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In May 2003, Kelly is watching an interview with Jennifer Finney Boylan on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Boylan is... (full context)
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...what their gender is based on what is in their hearts.” This is affirming to Kelly, who sees the same understanding in Wyatt. (full context)
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...believes there has to be a medical component because it feels so innate to her. Kelly believes this as well. (full context)
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...and surgical treatments that allow individuals to transition to the opposite gender of their birth. Kelly buys Boylan’s book, knowing that she could be a role model for Wyatt and that... (full context)
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For Wyatt’s seventh birthday, Kelly buys action figures from a TV show she thinks Wyatt had been engrossed in. When... (full context)
Chapter 8: A Boy-Girl
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Halfway through Jonas and Wyatt’s first-grade year at Asa C. Adams Elementary School, Kelly learns that she has thyroid cancer. She undergoes two surgeries in Boston as well as... (full context)
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Once, when the whole family makes a trip to Boston for Kelly’s treatments, she and Wayne notice a young boy with no hair and a very thin... (full context)
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Wyatt and Jonas love it when Kelly reads to them before bed. Each gravitates towards different characters. For Wyatt, his choices are... (full context)
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Kelly and Wayne try to find a therapist for Wyatt, but it proves difficult to find... (full context)
Chapter 9: Wild in the Dark
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...notebook, he frequently describes wanting to hit Jonas or throw things. Wyatt’s teacher, Wayne, and Kelly are concerned with this behavior. They also note Wyatt’s anger turning inward: he pulls at... (full context)
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...has his first appointment with child psychologist Virginia Holmes when he is nine years old. Kelly recognizes that his constant restlessness belies a deeper anxiety that he cannot explain. After his... (full context)
Chapter 10: Girls with Magical Powers
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Dr. Holmes counsels Kelly to go slow with Wyatt and not necessarily give in to everything he wants. Holmes... (full context)
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...a dress to school—that he would forever be known for that if he did so. Kelly, however, insists that this is what Wyatt wants. (full context)
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...even more anxious, which seems to stem from wanting to fit in with the girls. Kelly allows him to wear a two-piece bathing suit and sneaks him into the girls’ dressing... (full context)
Chapter 12: Transitions
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...their minds, he is a “boy-girl.” He finds a growing sense of self-esteem, due to Kelly’s allowing him to wear more “girlish” clothes at home and in public. (full context)
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About a month after moving to Maine, Kelly stopped by Erhardt’s office to explain Wyatt’s situation and to ask Erhardt to keep an... (full context)
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Erhardt and Kelly had spoken many times in the three years since their first meeting, and so Erhardt... (full context)
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Kelly knows, however, how far society still has to go. Only a few states have laws... (full context)
Chapter 13: Getting the Anger Out
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In April 2007, Wayne and Kelly sit down with Wyatt one night to watch a 20/20 special on transgender children. The... (full context)
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...to throw up). He admits he is often angry and feels misunderstood. He even writes Kelly a letter after fighting with Jonas about how he feels that she constantly treats him... (full context)
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...frustrations about growing up male are likely fodder for his violence and thoughts of self-harm. Kelly decides that it is time to find a doctor to help continue Wyatt’s transition. (full context)
Chapter 16: Nature’s Anomalies
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...he finally realizes that Wyatt’s transition is going to happen “with or without him.” For Kelly, she is relieved to have someone who is knowledgeable and to whom she could entrust... (full context)
Chapter 17: Being Different
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...form to the Special Services office of the board of education so that Wayne and Kelly can be involved in meetings with teachers and school staff to evaluate Wyatt’s needs. The... (full context)
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Kelly also petitions the Maine Principals Association, which regulates team sports, so that Wyatt can play... (full context)
Chapter 18: Becoming Nicole
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Kelly and Wayne gradually become more lenient with Wyatt’s gender expression, now allowing him wear all... (full context)
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Kelly discovers, however, that any official name change in Maine is by law announced in the... (full context)
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Kelly and Wayne file a petition to have the name change kept from the newspaper. They... (full context)
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...are convinced now that he should be allowed to transition to living as a girl. Kelly is amazed: Wayne has finally admitted that he agrees with Kelly and wants Wyatt to... (full context)
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...reason to deny your request […] You are obviously very concerned about your child’s safety.” Kelly and Wayne are relieved and realize that their own assumptions based on the judge’s appearance... (full context)
Chapter 20: Freak
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...but Jacob does not. When Nicole gets home from school, she began to cry to Kelly. She’d done nothing wrong, and yet she’d been embarrassed in front of her friends. For... (full context)
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Kelly tries to call Erhardt, but Bob Lucy had instructed Erhardt not to speak to the... (full context)
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...October, Jacob follows Nicole again into the girls’ bathroom. She comes home crying once more. Kelly calls special services director Sharon Brady, who agrees that Jacob had violated their agreement with... (full context)
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The next day, Kelly and Wayne call the Orono police department. The police visit Paul Melanson at his home,... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Christian Civic League of Maine
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...day at school, Jacob sits next to Jonas during lunch. Jonas resists the bait, but Kelly and Wayne immediately send more emails to the staff at the elementary school, as well... (full context)
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...the school to establish a police presence, and a bathroom sign-in/sign-out procedure will be instated. Kelly and Wayne are confused; this plan is not what they were expecting. There is no... (full context)
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...are a boy or a girl,” and closing his editorial by asking for financial contributions. Kelly and Wayne fear that the League is just beginning its fight. (full context)
Chapter 22: Defending Nicole
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...to the ground. Both boys are punished, losing recess for the next two weeks. When Kelly and Wayne hear of the incident, they tell Jonas that they understand his frustration but... (full context)
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...story is being discussed everywhere, including online forums and blogs. Some comment that Wayne and Kelly should be “arrested for child abuse” for helping Nicole “persist in the mental illness.” (full context)
Chapter 23: May I Have This Dance?
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Kelly tries to educate the school about transgender issues to help turn them around, but she... (full context)
Chapter 25: Eyes On
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...older students top her, taunting her and telling her she can’t use the restroom. When Kelly reports this incident, the assistant principal essentially argues that it was Nicole’s fault because she... (full context)
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...not be allowed to sleep in the girls’ tent and will need a separate tent. Kelly marches into Bob Lucy’s office, asking if he thinks Nicole is a predator and whether... (full context)
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One day in April, Nicole admits to Kelly and Wayne that she had been about to go into the girls’ restroom when Bob... (full context)
Chapter 28: Separate and Unequal
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...the Maineses’ suit against the Orono school district. The Commission recommends “conciliation,” which is what Kelly and Wayne want—for Nicole to be integrated into the school in the way other girls... (full context)
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In June, Kelly has another face-to-face meeting with principal Bob Lucy. She asks what the arrangements will be... (full context)
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Kelly starts to make plans to move to Portland, Maine, 140 miles south of Orono. No... (full context)
Chapter 29: Going Stealth
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Wayne helps Kelly, Nicole, and Jonas move into their new home in Portland, which is only two blocks... (full context)
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On November 25, 2009, Kelly and Wayne file a civil lawsuit against the school, arguing that its policy had intentionally... (full context)
Chapter 30: On the Outside Looking In
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...his parents about. Wayne counsels him not to fight, but instead to tell him and Kelly. (full context)
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Jonas becomes depressed and unengaged, admitting to Kelly that he thinks about cutting himself. He starts seeing a therapist, but also retreats further... (full context)
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...begs her mother to be able to tell one person that she is transgender, but Kelly is steadfast. She says that if it goes downhill, they may all have to move... (full context)
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...wasn’t on top of the case and his son had made disparaging comments about Nicole. Kelly is also worn-down with worry. But a bit of good news arrives in March 2010,... (full context)
Chapter 31: Puberty Begins
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...puberty-suppressing drug. Meanwhile, Nicole pleads with her parents for a bra and small false breasts. Kelly finally relents, and she finds silicone breasts and bras with pockets for women who have... (full context)
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...sells the Orono house and moves into graduate student housing at the university there, while Kelly and the kids move into a better neighborhood in Portland. Meanwhile, on the next visit... (full context)
Chapter 34: We Can’t Lose
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...Nicole is transgender because they’d given her dolls at a young age, but Wayne and Kelly know that nothing they did would have affected Nicole’s identity. Kelly also quips privately, “What... (full context)
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...hands out leaflets about Nicole and how children like her deserve better treatment by lawmakers. Kelly is exceptionally proud of both Wayne and Nicole. (full context)
Chapter 35: First Kiss
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That evening, Nicole tells Kelly about what happened. Nicole starts to cry, wondering what she’ll do. Kelly tells her she... (full context)
Chapter 36: Small Victories
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...flooded with calls and emails and media requests. People are moved by the Maineses’ story. Kelly tries to keep the requests at bay, making sure that her children can experience life... (full context)
Chapter 40: Our Story
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...would “take every step to comply with the law.” Nicole is so thrilled that when Kelly texts her, she immediately stops the school assembly that she is attending and announces the... (full context)
Chapter 41: Commencement
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...school official. Nicole curtsies to each person and strikes a pose after accepting her degree. Kelly and Wayne are amazed that the time has gone so fast, and they hold back... (full context)
Chapter 42: Transformation
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...an enema that morning. She worries that the dysphoria might come back but insists to Kelly that she has to go through with the surgery. (full context)